There are myriad ways for any one person to get to know your organization without ever walking through your office doors. One of those ways is through the "candidate experience." If you are hiring, how candidates—potential future employees—are treated is one of the most important determinants of whether these prized potential future employees will consider working for your company. And in the age of social media and the Internet, candidates talk; employees talk; everyone who has ever worked with your organization talks—and potential candidates do their research. If your recruiting process is branded as "candidate unfriendly," this will almost certainly negatively impact the quality and volume of resumes submitted to your organization either directly or through your outside search firm partner. That is why it is vitally important to build—and maintain—your organization's brand by optimizing the candidate experience every time you are seeking to fill an open position. Your company's ability to successfully attract and recruit top talent depends on how well it manages the hiring process. Maximizing the candidate experience through each phase of your internal recruiting process will significantly enhance your company's effectiveness in appealing to high caliber candidates, especially at a time when there is increased competition for talent and active candidates have more job options available to them. Remember - every interaction with your company will either positively or negatively impact the candidate's perception of your organization.
Building your "candidate brand" is a job that starts with your internal HR person and is carried through by the hiring manager and all other company employees with whom the candidate meets. One of the primary jobs of the hiring manager and the internal HR person is to sell not only the role but also the company and its culture. Top talent is not necessarily actively looking to make a move so they want to be told what's so special about the company that would make them make the change. Your hiring manager and HR person need to be stellar representatives of the company and reflect what is most positive about your corporate culture.
Once an initial interview is scheduled, your hiring manager and the HR person then become responsible for conveying the culture and values while also explaining the position and setting the expectations for the role. Throughout the entire interview process, all individuals who interact with the candidate should be focused on enhancing the candidate's experience and painting a realistic but affirming picture of the organization.
So how can you paint that picture during the interview process?
By creating transparency throughout the process, giving timely feedback and keeping candidates in the loop as to the next steps, you will greatly enhance your brand image with prospective, current and future candidates. Treating candidates exceptionally well, respecting their time and validating their interest reflects well on your company and sets the tone for how future employees will be received and integrated into their new roles.